by Kate McBride & Mary-Edens McAbee
The results of the 2016 election came as an incredible shock to thousands of people all across the nation. Before November 8th, it seemed relatively safe to assume that Hillary Clinton would win the election. Although her numbers were starting to decrease, she was up in a majority of polls, and it seemed as though her campaign was a step ahead of Donald Trump’s. For many Hillary supporters, it may have seemed simple common sense that she would triumph. Despite these preconceptions, the Democratic Presidential Nominee did not come out on top. There are many factors that could’ve contributed to this: the FBI investigation, votes for Stein and Johnson, or even the simple fact that Hillary is a woman. As we strive to accept the results of the election, we analyze what exactly went wrong or could’ve gone better in Hillary Clinton’s run for president.
The investigation of Hillary’s emails has been an ongoing problem for over a year, first beginning after Hillary was believed to be emailing classified information illegally and ending last summer on July 5 when FBI Director James Comey held a press conference announcing he did not recommend indictment of Hillary. Although the investigation was closed, and she was not indicted, people still used this as a reason not to trust Hillary. Her emails were thrown in her face on multiple occasions by many people, particularly during Presidential debates. Eleven days before Election Day, the investigation was reopened. Once more, they found nothing and had no reason for indictment, but the simple act of unnecessarily reopening the investigation and making it very public had a detrimental blow to Hillary’s campaign. The fact that the investigation was retouched so close to the election is very odd. Of course, there are different theories as to why exactly the investigation was opened; people question whether it was politically motivated or not, but no one will ever truly know with certainty. What people do know is that Hillary definitely lost support after the recent re-exposure, as it made people who were already on the edge even more uneasy to vote for her due to believing she was untrustworthy and unfit for president. As a woman, these allegations played an even larger role in deciding whether or not to vote for a candidate, because many people already believed a woman running for president was unfit for the role and would not be able to handle the job.
Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan are just three states among many where Hillary was either predicted to win or believed to have had a fairly strong chance of coming out on top. In all three, the winning margin was less than the total number of third party votes. While there is longstanding debate about the value of third party voting, with valid points for and against the issue, the most important point is those votes only deflect success from the major-party candidates. Both the Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson racked up votes across the country that easily could have swayed the results in Hillary’s favor. With the electoral votes from these swing states, Hillary would have had a better grasp on the presidency instead of losing by a close margin. In addition, third party votes are often seen as “throwing a vote away” and, while that is not necessarily true, third party voters are in a way throwing away the chance at having the first female President of the United States. All of the close losses could have transformed into wins had the third party votes gone towards Hillary. An election sans Stein and Johnson would have been very different from the one that took place in November.
As much as we try to fight and hide it, the fact still stands that sexism is alive in the United States, and there is no better example than this past election. Hillary Clinton received many votes from women who saw her as a powerful example of feminine strength, but there were also men and women alike who voted against her because of her gender. The results showed that the gender gap between the results of Democratic and Republican votes is historically high; more women voted Democrat and men Republican than ever before. Slurs that would never be used to describe men were being thrown around about Hillary, and no one recognized this problem. Many Republicans claim equally awful remarks are being made against Trump, but no matter what is said about him, no one would attack his masculinity. Therein lies the blatant sexism that hindered Hillary from taking a full and definite jump in the polls. In every debate, she calmly reacted to the irate persona that is Donald Trump. Her responses were always composed and thoughtful, but, because of her gender, her accomplishments and demeanor were often overlooked. In the end, this divide between the sexes became apparent during this election and were a contributing factor to her loss.
Hillary’s campaign proved a tough road and was criticized by many. Although people are outspoken in their disapproval, she was very well qualified, doing whatever she could to win this election despite the shortfalls that seem to manifest from the results of November 8. Many Democrats– and even some Republicans– would say that if anyone else had been the Democratic Nominee, they would have defeated Trump. Nonetheless, no one can conceivably know what would have occurred otherwise, and it’s impossible to change now. We can only hope for the best for our country over the next four years under our new President Elect, Donald Trump.